But like with everything, our feet change with age. Because of this, the steps baby boomers take should be with our foot health in mind.
Joseph Caporusso, DPM, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association, says, "While staying active is a great way to preserve overall health and can positively impact foot health, aging can naturally increase the risk of certain foot ailments. It's important to know the symptoms of age-related foot ailments and take steps to minimize their impact on your overall health."
Those over the age of 50 are most prone to develop arthritis. The feet are susceptible to this painful inflammation of the joints and cartilage because each foot has 33 joints, all of which bear the full weight of the body each day. Arthritic feet can lead to a loss of mobility if the condition is not treated. Causes of arthritis range from heredity to injuries to bacterial or viral infections that affect the joints. If you experience the following symptoms, it's time to make an appointment with a podiatrist:
- Swelling in one or more joints.
- Recurring pain or tenderness in the joint.
- Redness or heat in the joint.
- Loss of mobility in a joint.
- Stiffness in the early morning.
- Skin changes, like rashes or growths.
More than 26 million Americans have diabetes and foot complications are common. Proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful home management can help those with diabetes avoid serious foot complications, like wounds, ulcers, and even worse, amputations. Those with diabetes should follow these tips to avoid complications:
- Inspecting their feet daily.
- Exercising daily.
- Wear thick, soft socks without seams that rub or cause blisters.
- Having new shoes properly measured and fitted.
- Avoiding going barefoot.
- Having regular appointments for treatment of calluses, corns or warts, rather than treating these conditions by yourself.
Hypertension can be related to a buildup of plaque in blood vessels, which can lead to decreased circulation in the legs and feet. Poor circulation can develop into open wounds on the skin of the feet. Symptoms of poor circulation in the feet include: cramping, sores that take a long time to heal, changes in the color or temperature of the feet, and loss of hair on the feet and legs.
Heel pain can be caused by walking gait abnormalities, an injury, wearing poorly constructed footwear, or being overweight. Heel pain is easily treated by podiatrists, who will examine the heel, and may take X-rays to rule out bone problems as the source of pain. Treatment will include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, shoe modifications, orthotics, taping, and stretching.To reduce your risk of developing heel pain, wear shoes that fit well and have shock absorbent soles, rigid shanks, and supportive heel counters. Wear the right shoe for the right activity and warm-up before participating in any sports activity.
"Foot pain does not need to be an inevitable part of growing older. Wearing the right type of footwear for your needs, and paying attention to foot health can help keep boomers moving into their senior years," says Caporusso.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
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